Saturday, 13 August 2011

An interview with Harsh Snehanshu

Harsh Snehanshu - the author of bestselling novel "Oops! 'I' fell in love!", released in 2009 and has sold more than 30000 copies, whose sequel "Ouch! that 'hearts'.." has hit the stands on 4th August 2011 is a graduate from IIT-Delhi, and has been an entrepreneur since 2010; his creative venture, popular as "thewittyshit" is another piece of his and his partner's creativity. Having read "Oops!" a year ago and "Ouch!" in a go last night; I just couldn't stop myself from having this extremely thrilling conversation with him.

Here goes our conversation :

1. You are an active blogger; so what made you start writing?
=> I started my first blog, Synergy, which is still active just to share my experience at IIT with my school friends. It was just the urge to share what was totally new and exciting in my life. Later on, it became something like a public diary for me where I used to write my experiences, thoughts until I started writing stories. I made another blog for stories, Graffiti, once I realized my penchant for the same. Blogging has given me a lot, and I still owe all the credit to it, for making me a motivated writer.

2. Your debut novel “Oops! 'I' fell in love!” was very well received by the Indian readers. How was your experience with it?
=> I’m very happy with how it turned out to be. Readers liked the kind of whacky humour that it contained, the college life thrill and the erroneous love story that it contained. It helped me learn a lot as a writer. I would recommend every aspiring writer to attempt writing a novel, not just for publishing, but for the sake of learning, since every reader brings in a lesson with him/her to you and thus, you evolve as a writer and understand what a reader wants.

3. After “Oops! ‘I’ fell in love!”, what made you write its sequel; which has been recently released?
=> After Oops, I had no such plans of writing a sequel, since I had already started working on another interesting plot, that was a love story of two entrepreneurs. But owing to my limitations as a writer, I realized that I could do justice to it only after I have experienced entrepreneurial life myself. I stopped the plot in between and switched on to writing the sequel, which was something that didn’t require much efforts on my part, since I’d plenty of college stories to tell.

4. A 14 year old girl suggested the title of your second novel, namely ‘OUCH! that ‘hearts’..’. What is the aptness of the word ‘Hearts’ in the suggested title to your story?
=> Yes, Arpa, one of my prized readers, came up with the title. I had conducted a competition for the same; I’d received over 150 prospective titles for the book and I chose Arpa’s suggested title because it was the catchiest, the pun on ‘hurts’ and ‘hearts’ made it apt because it suited the plot well, as this book had a sad ending and thirdly, the word ‘Ouch!’ seemed to be the perfect match for a sequel to ‘Oops!’.

5. Which one of your own two books is your favourite and why?
=> I like the second one more, because I have written it well, I gave it more time and more energy. However, if you consider which one did I enjoy writing more, I’ll say the first one, since it was miraculous how it emerged and how it took shape from within a dorm room.

6. You prefer to go for trendy and off-beat titles for your novels, what would you say to justify your preference?
=> I agree. The titles are a bit off-beat. I think, it justifies the plot. Humorous and racy plots require catchy and exclamatory titles. I would go for a serious title, once I write serious fiction.

7. Tell us about your one experience in the journey of writing the two books you would always like to remember?
=> Queen of Venice. Read the second book to find that out. Wait for the third book to get to know the entire story.

8. What do you think readers like the most in your writings?
=> They like to laugh. And I make them laugh.

9. Do you believe that ‘Ouch…’ would be as successful as ‘Oops..’ or even more than that?
=> I believe it’s going to surpass ‘Oops!’ in a very short time. The stats are already showing that. The first impression is almost sold in less than 7 days.

10. What do you think the youngsters who go for light-reading actually want out of a writer?
=> Wholesome entertainment. A story that’s rivetting, well narrated and something which they could relate to.

11. What would you say to your critics?
=> Thank you, if you’re genuine. You helped me evolve as a writer. Thank you, if you’re not genuine. You helped me evolve, as a person.

12. What would you say to aspiring writers?
=> Read. A lot.

13. When is your next novel coming?
=> Part 3, the concluding part of Kanav-Tanya trilogy, hopefully to be out by January, next year. Besides that I'm working on another plot called 365 days and I'm searching for a publisher for my 32 short-stories.

Rapid-fire round:

Q. What is writing to you?
=> Passion.

Q: One thing/person which gives you goose bumps is
=> Grandparents.

Q: One movie which made you cry is
=> The Notebook.

Q: One word you would say to ‘Chetan Bhagat’.
=> Thanks!

Q: One person you envy is
=> Zuckerberg

Q: You wouldn't have been a writer if you didn’t have -
=> Patience

Q: Writing has made you a better
=> Writer

Q: One ingredient in your books which is the secret behind your success is
=> Wit

Q: One recently published book you liked the most written by an Indian light-fiction writer of 19-25 age group is -
=> I too had a love story by Ravinder Singh.

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